The original songs came together over the course of close to 10 months. They were recorded in an attic at a friend’s home, and were the kind of sparse, minimal folk instrumentation the Columbus Ohio band is known for. It was a fully realized album and the label was excited, says Zac Little, who sings and plays a variety of instruments in the band, which plays Visalia’s Cell Door, tonight.
“They would have released it as was,” he says.
But they didn’t release the track as they were.
Instead, the band took those recordings to the Nebraska recording studio of Mike Mogis, a producer who worked with Bright Eyes and M. Ward. There, they began a process of mixing and refining the tracks.
It was much different setting than the attic. Suddenly the band had every imaginable instrument at their disposal and was able to revisit the songs in a way that let them think heavy about the kind of album they wanted to produce.
That doesn’t happen often, Little says. Mostly an album gets released and “inevitably, you go back and think, ‘If I had the opportunity, I would have tried something else,’ ” he says.
With “Dark Arc,” they had that chance.
What came out is different from their previous work. While the band’s first full-length album “Last” was a documentation of their live show, Little says, the songs on “Dark Arc” come from the opposite approach. They were retroactively re-imagined as live versions.
Little can’t say which approach serves the band best.
“Which one is better is contingent on the song,” Little says. “What serves the song best?”
Check out the video for Saintseneca’s “Happy Alone” from “Dark Arc.”